Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Flying Scroll

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Flying Scroll

Chapter Eleven
The Flying Scroll

God’s judgment is something ignored by most of professing Christianity these days.  Psalm 36:1 says, The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.”  The point of this Psalm is that the willful transgression of the sinner is a shout out to the world from the foundations of his heart, I do not fear God.  This attitude is the foundation of all sin and all wickedness.  All willful sin is the manifest voice of fearlessness of God and therefore is wickedness.  No fear of God is a message to one’s own soul of either ignorance or unbelief.  

Someone has said sin’s payday is not always on Friday, but it will come someday.  According to Zechariah 5:1, God’s curse upon sin in general and every specific sin is already being processed and is progressing toward the ultimate judgment of God in “day of the Lord” culminating finally with the “great White Throne judgment.”  Every day of human existence moves the world one day closer to the final day of this first creation and its ultimate destruction. 

Some of the lack of the fear of God’s judgment is due to ignorance of God.  Some of this lack of fear is due to unbelief.  Others who do not fear God’s judgment do so because they have been theologically compromised through false teachers teaching false doctrine.  These have believed a lie that the God of the Old Testament has evolved into a kinder, gentler God Who loves everyone and judges no one.  Yes, God hates sin and loves sinners, but He will none the less judge the unrepentant.  If God does not judge the unrepentant, He ceases to be the God of the Bible.  To confirm that God is a just God is the purpose of Zechariah chapter five. 

1 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll the {meaning God’s curse was already in process}. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll {on its way to full completion}; the length thereof is twenty cubits {‘from the elbow to the end of the middle finger’; the royal Babylonian cubit was 20.6 inches, therefore just over 34 feet long}, and the breadth thereof ten cubits {therefore, just over 17 feet wide}. 3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. 4 I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof” (Zechariah 5:1-4).

          Satan’s deception of Eve and corruption of humanity through sin has necessitated God’s curse upon humanity and the doom of the whole first creation destined for destruction.  The curse cannot be stopped for God must be just lest He become a liar like Satan.  Without the promise of redemption and a Redeemer, every soul lives in a hopeless existence.  Prophecy is God’s promise of restoring hope to the redeemed that leads to a completely new existence outside of the curse under the reign of King Jesus and finally in a New Heaven/Earth.  Faith connects the redeemed to that new hope and new existence.  The difficulties and struggles of life become irrelevant within that new hope.  Every prophecy of Scripture should connect the struggling faithful redeemed to his new hope in Christ.  With this hope, Scripture comes alive in the believer’s heart and the sprouts of our “born again” new life bursts forth making everyday like the dawning of Spring. 

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:51-58).

          Since the fear of God “is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), learning to fear God is a foundational doctrine of faith.  We fear God because of God’s sovereign authority to judge us and pass sentence upon our sins.  The phrase “fools despise wisdom and instruction” in Proverbs 1:7 speaks of the foolishness connected to failing to fear God.  Such foolishness despises, or disrespects, theological “instruction” about what God loves and what God hates.  There is no greater manifestation of unbelief than the lack of the fear of God in a sinner’s life.  

A professing believer who does not fear God is the greater of fools because he fools himself about the reality of his own faith.  Such a person reveals a completely broken, perhaps even seared, conscience.  Such a person hates to even hear God’s judgment mentioned.  Such a person hates anyone pointing out anything being sinful.  This is the don’t judgment me person who professes belief in God but never wants sin addressed especially if he/she is involved in any of it.

New Evangelicals and Liberals are trying to redefine worldliness, so they can be culturally relevant.  Just mentioning the word worldly will immediately generate a debate.  Worldly simply means to be like the world.  God commands believers to “love not the world” (I John 2:15).  Apparently, the New Evangelical thinks it is acceptable with God to like certain worldly things as long as they do not “love” them.  They want to be involved in the social environment of worldly people without separating from their worldliness.  Therefore, they must redefine worldliness, so they can participate to some acceptable degree in the social activities of worldly people to avoid appearing radical or fanatical. 

Seldom do people even consider the evolution of cultural philosophical thought and how it effects their understanding and application of Biblical truth.  The evolution of cultural philosophical thought is constantly changing, which in turn changes the way certain Christians interpret the Bible.  Christian’s are being captured by human philosophies without even being conscious of it.  This evolution of thinking is as old as creation.  Paul warned about philosophical corruptions of faith in Colossians 2:8; “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”  Perhaps the greatest influence upon how people think in the Twentieth-first century is that of Post Modernism.


Post Modernism is a radical re-evaluation of culture, moral values, history, religious beliefs, and even one’s own personal identity.  Post Modernism is the merging of ideas from Rationalism, Existentialism, and Secular Humanism. Post Modernists reject the ability to know absolute truth trading such notions for extreme degrees of acceptance of very diverse thinking and moral values.  The worldview of Post Modernists is rapidly moving towards Globalism, acceptance of all moral diversities, and towards economic socialism.  This is the evolving world into which Christians are sent to evangelize.  This is very similar to the time just before the Great Flood of Noah.
Post Modernism is a cultural development at all levels moving towards the inability to know the truth, evolving and corrupting Christianity at numerous levels and in varying degrees.  Post Modernism has greatly affected the Church, even Bible believing Christianity.  There are all types of discussions going on amongst professing Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians that were totally unnecessary fifty-years ago.  Every moral issue and moral value are being questioned and reevaluated with unlimited levels of acceptance of things that were deemed sinful and inappropriate just fifty years ago (or less). 

Yet, most professing Christians are totally unaware of the philosophy of Post Modernism and the cultural dialogue that is causing them to drift away from Biblical Christianity into the dark, stormy waters of moral relativism.  Post Modern Christians are no longer anchored to the Rock of theological absolutes.  They are anchored to the putty of ever-changing cultural relativism and theological ambiguity.  They have drifted to the degree they are no longer able to even see the shores of Biblical Christianity any longer.  They are a confused and raggedy lot, who pragmatically think themselves to be those that are truly enlightened.  They see true Biblical Christians as theological dinosaurs about to go into extinction.  Christ speaks to these self-deceived hypocrites at the end of the Church Age with definitive words of judgment.

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest {pragmatically claiming they are right with God and thereby justifying their practices by all the people that align themselves with them}, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing {how they see themselves}; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked {how Jesus sees them}: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelations 3:14-19).


          The primary subject of Peter’s first epistle is instructions regarding a new elect priesthood (I Peter 1:2; 2:9, and Revelation 1:6).  Judgment in the Bible is threefold.  There are many levels and variations of God’s judgment in each of these three categories.

1. The judgment of condemnation on sin and unrepentant, lost sinners
2. The judgment of the believer’s sins in God’s chastisement
3. The judgment of the believer’s works

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange {alien, foreign; meaning unusual} thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers {koinōnéō}of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory {including the believer’s glorification} shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:12-19).

The point of the “flying scroll” of Zechariah 5:1-4 is not that God’s judgment is pending, but that God’s judgment is already in process.  God’s judgment is going on everywhere, every day, and every moment of every day within the greater scope of the judgment of the curse upon the fallen creation.  The judge-me-not generation of Post-Modern pragmatism hates the very idea of the judgment of God.  Their forced acceptance of religious diversity demands that almost every practice and belief become accepted and acceptable.  There must be an exception to every Biblical standard or value and some degree of justification for every failure; after all, we are all just sinners.  

The central point of the seven epistles of Christ to the seven churches of Revelations chapters two and three is that Christ is constantly judging His local churches.  Jesus as well is constantly judging the living stones from which those local churches are constructed.  There is a consistent message in these seven epistles to the doctrinal and practice aberrations that Christ addresses to these seven local churches – REPENT or else!  The Biblical local churches wanting Christ’s blessing must be willing to hear His corrections and repent lest they lose their “candlestick.”  That is a severe judgment.  

The point of the “flying scroll” vision of Zechariah 5:1-4 is to remind the faithful remnant of Israel, and all generations of the remnant, that new beginnings are important, but faithful endings are even more so.  Every generation of the faithful remnant of believers must reproduce themselves by creating another generation of faithful people.  Every new generation tends to loosen their grip on certain standards and values and slide into mere externalism.  Externalism is when believers live the way they are supposed to live but disconnected from a loving relationship with the Lord.  This always ends in the next generation abandoning their faith for worldliness.  Faithful people need to understand the historical constant of the theological drift into externalism by their own succeeding generations.  This is often due to the preceding generation’s own apathy.

The great motivator of the Christian life is the desire to “grow in grace” (II Peter 3:18) and to be progressively “conformed to the image” of Christ (Romans 8:29).  Our love for God is simply measured by the effort and importance we place upon growing in grace and being conformed to the image of Christ.  This must be real if we intend to transfer our heart for the Lord to the next generations under our influence and to which we model the Christian life.  Whatever level of insincerity that exists in our lives will be magnified and multiplied in the generations to which we model Christ.  It is foolish to weep for the wickedness of sinners in the world without weeping over your own hypocrisies.  For it is your hypocrisies that will destroy your children and grandchildren.  Yes, God will forgive your “iniquity and transgression,” but those failures have entered the stream of your influence flowing to your next generations.  Your own hypocritical failures become your own judgment upon your own heritage. 

The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation” (Numbers 14:18).

          The “flying scroll” represents the written Word of God given to humanity, especially believers, through the inspiration of God.  God has spelled out His judgments with great specificity for over seven millennia.  There should be no doubt about the fact that God hates sin, disobedience, and rebellion in any form or degree and will ALWAYS judge it.  The fact that humanity still exists is a testimony to God’s longsuffering grace and mercy. 

          The size of the “flying Scroll” (ten cubits by twenty cubits) is the same dimensions as the Outer Court (Solomon’s Porch) of Solomon’s Temple (I Kings 6:3).  Every Jew involved in the rebuilding of the Temple would have been familiar with these dimensions because they would have been rebuilding on the old foundations.  This was the main entrance into the Temple on the East side.  It was a spectacular architectural marvel, even for our times, with columns rising over two-hundred feet into the air.  It was a place for honesty about one’s heart.

As the faithful remnant rebuilt with the rubble from Solomon’s Temple, it was an overwhelming reminder to those entering the Temple that “that judgment must begin at the house of God” (I Peter 2:17).  To those of the faithful remnant of God rebuilding the Temple with the rubble of Solomon’s Temple, this was a reminder that they were building God’s House and it was to be solemn and sober work.  Yet, it is a reminder to all of us doing God’s work of evangelism and discipleship that we are building with the rubble left over from the curse.
Christians involved in a partnership of grace with the indwelling Christ to build His Church should never forget the solemnness of the work of making the living stones in the disciples they create.  There is serious spiritual craftsmanship involved in making disciples.  Every doctrine of Christ, transferred from one life to another, shapes that living stone with exacting specificity.  Therefore, we must labor in word and doctrine to exact God’s exact intended meaning for our own lives.  We can only transfer specificity when we possess specificity of (body) doctrine, (soul) practice, and (Spirit) attitudes.  Think about this for a moment!

There is no greater place than the assembly of the saints to which the believer approaches the presence of God.  Assembling together with one another and God should create an atmosphere of reverent worship.  God promises that where two or three gather together in His Name, He is there in their midst (Matthew 18:20).  To know one’s self to be a sinner standing in the presence of a holy God, the Creator and Judge of the universe, should be a sobering, humbling, reverential thought.  The assembling of the saints with God has become more of a social event than God’s intended purpose of perfecting the saints to be like Jesus so they can reverently minister like Jesus.  Many gather together today with little or no consciousness or awe of the presence God.  In many cases, it is just entertaining goats, not the feeding and caring for the sheep.  

Molding clay in easier than sculpting stone.  Shaping clay is easier than chiseling stone.  Building with living stones is meticulous work because living stones tend to revert to their old shapes.  There can be hidden faults buried deep inside.  Living stones can possess cancerous growths that can return after being removed.  The cancerous growth can go into remission only to resurface under stress of temptation.  This is to what I believe Paul refers in his discussion with Timothy in II Timothy 2:19-26.  Paul reminds Timothy that all believers are broken stones with many hidden faults, but the foundation upon which we build is solid and sure. 

19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:19-26).

          Perhaps the greatest and most common aberration of Biblical faithfulness is merely attending a church service once or twice a week is being faithful.  Evangelical and fundamental Bible believing Christians are mostly people “born again” out of liturgical churches.  They attended liturgical churches to have something done to them or for them, but they do little for Christ other than perhaps social niceties.  Such people are completely disconnected from the Bible teaching of being the church in winning souls and making disciples every day.  Once “born again” believers get that vision, attending church and the purpose of attending garners a completely different meaning.  They will see themselves as being trained to become living stone masons, which is really what defines soul winning and discipleship.  Living stones, by their very nature, are hardened to being changed.  God must “give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (II Timothy 2:25).  This is the existing dynamic every time the Word of God is preached or taught.  It is the responsibility of a living stone to soften his own heart to change.  

          The “flying scroll” was the same dimensions as Solomon’s Porch as the main entrance into the Temple.  Can we imagine the reverence and fear of God when people thought about entering the house of God?  The grandeur of Solomon’s roofed porch with two-hundred feet tall columns supporting it would have reminded people of the grandeur and magnificence of their Creator.  This was the most spectacular part of the Temple structure.  Yet, its purpose was seldom realized.  It was in this entrance porch to God’s house that sinners were to reflect upon their own sinfulness and God’s holiness.  They were to enter the Temple site with extreme reverence.  This is the metaphor Paul uses in I Timothy 3:14-16.  The Church, an assembly of “born again,” committed to sanctification assembly of believers is the New Covenant “house of God.”  Every time they gather, there should be solemn reflection with great reverence because they know the presence of God in their hearts and lives. 

14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness {piety; how believing the Gospel creates holiness in the life of a believing sinner}: God {in Jesus} was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:14-16).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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